Golden Door and Singapore Airlines launched a partnership a year ago bringing the wellness retreat’s nutrition-focused menu to the Star Alliance airline’s longest flights. It is now growing the connection by launching new menu items in a second phase of the program. Also returning are some of the most popular from the first iteration.
The latest roster of menu items comprises almost two dozen new dishes that will roll out across the flight network. These are available on the airline’s longest, nonstop flights from North America to Singapore as well as the one-stop flights from New York JFK to Singapore via Frankfurt and from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo.
Bringing a wellness perspective to such a long journey is a key focus of the partnership, which also includes stretching and mindfulness content available on the inflight entertainment screens. These will help to increase circulation, enhance flexibility and enhance alertness, in the airline’s words.
Unique to Singapore Airlines is that passengers have access to this material for as long as 30 days after the flight giving them time to acclimate to the destination and adapt post-journey.
How menus are designed
Golden Door Chef Greg Frey, of the famous spa boasting more than 60 years of history, and the resort’s top chefs and nutritionists collaborate to review the latest trends. They labor for days in the kitchen as they experiment with recipes that hold up both on the ground and in the air so that flight attendants can reproduce the dishes to the same exacting, restaurant-style quality.
The result: a perfect mix of dishes that spans dietary requirements and touches on flavors that work well in the air without skimping on flavor.
The axiom that sodium and spice must overpower a dish to match muted taste buds in the sky is gone. Newer aircraft provide a better onboard experience including cabins pressurized to lower altitudes and designed to hydrate the skin and body better. As a result, travelers can enjoy more restaurant-quality dishes rather than modified recipes that take into account altitude as a factor for taste. That is no longer a focus for the latest aircraft types, including the Airbus A350-900.
While Singapore Airlines chefs are involved in the design process with Golden Door, it is ultimately the catering kitchens at each airport that prepare the meals before each flight. That’s why Singapore doubles down on the investment by flying out chefs from each catering kitchen so that they understand the wellness and nutrition-focused balance of Golden Door.
It’s one thing to read a recipe, but it’s another to meander the Golden Door gardens and capture the essence of the wellness focus of this retreat. This helps them capture the holistic spirit of what Golden Door visitors experience and what Singapore wants its passengers to enjoy on its longest flights.
What’s on the menu
The menu includes nearly two dozen meals designed to improve the onboard experience for long flights. There is also a list of wellness-focused beverages that are meant to be experienced at different points during the flight to meet varying needs from boosting electrolytes to improving hydration or sleep levels.
Flight crew receive training on the best libations and dishes to offer at the right point of time during the flight to maximize certain health needs. This might include offering a beverage high in anti-inflammatory properties or something rich in free radicals and antioxidants to enjoy before landing to find the right balance of energy and awareness before an important after-landing meeting. Others focus on managing one’s glucose index so that there are no sugar spikes and falls during or after a flight.
Making a fabulous comeback are some of the more popular dishes from the inaugural menu: miso-marinated cod over forbidden rice, served with stir fried vegetables and basil edamame puree, and portobello meatballs dressed in risotto heirloom tomato sauce with wilted greens.
Among the other new options are shrimp with Cajun bean chili, avocado crema, spring onion and cilantro; smoked trout, caviar, lettuce, beans and wakame with tarragon mustard dressing; poached lobster, turnip and micro greens with Meyer lemon aioli; and basil and kale vegan gnudi, cauliflower puree, toasted cherry tomatoes and brown rice with pecan vinaigrette.
The Golden Door partnership menus were already available in business and premium economy cabins, but have now been expanded to the carrier’s first class passengers. No matter where you are seated, the quality remains high. While first class menus typically have a higher budget (expect top-notch caviar and salmon platters as just the start), Singapore spares no expense for the rest of the plane either.
The chefs explain that the meals served in premium economy are the same quality and quantity as business class, but just presented in a different way to befit the cabin’s tray table. Other airlines often spend far less on the menus served in premium economy when compared with business class, but Singapore wants to differentiate that experience.
Even the cheese deserves attention. The airline uses cheese from Rogue Creamery in Oregon produced by self-milking cows who voluntarily walk to a milking area when they please.
What is coming soon
Neither brand is finished yet. There are plans to continue developing new inflight menus from Golden Door as feedback from cabin crew and passengers roll in and new ingredients become available. Singapore Airlines, for example, sources greens for its Newark-departing flights from a local aeroponic farm close to the airport, and the carrier hopes to expand this opportunity.
The goal of the overall spa partnership is to recreate as much of the California-based Golden Door experience (one that starts at $10,500 per week) on board Singapore Airlines flights. If you want to fly with the most Zen and calming experience, then this Star Alliance member is your best bet.
Those wanting to visit Golden Door (and there are many that find each other between the airline and spa partnership) travel to the property’s location between San Diego and Los Angeles. Its 600 acres provide ample space for hiking, jogging or simply exploring nature among the oak trees and bamboo. Most importantly, Golden Door resort donates 100% of profits to charity.